Last February, I became involved with a company called Visit.org, a platform that connects travelers with local experiences that give back to the communities they are visiting. My role with Visit.org is to be an ambassador, which means that when I travel, I make time to participate in these experiences myself. I visit the organizations on the platform to take photos and video, tell their stories, and determine if the experience is still something we want to promote on the website. When I was in South Africa, I had the opportunity to visit two of these organizations, which showed me another side to Cape Town from what I had seen in the center city. Both organizations took me to Kyayelitsha, a township founded in 1985, during the times of apartheid, when black South Africans were forcefully relocated to black neighborhoods.
If you know me at all, you know about my intense obsession with dogs. When I walk around NYC, I wave to them and say “hi, buddy!” without acknowledging the humans walking them. I try to pet them when their owners aren’t looking, as long as they look friendly and fluffy. I follow more dog accounts on Instagram than I do of my actual friends. And I was more excited to see my parents’ dog after coming back home than I was to see them. Just kidding, Mom and Dad!
Because of my obsession, being in Myanmar was interesting for me. In every city I was in, there was a huge population of stray dogs. In most of the areas where I was hanging out in Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan, the dogs were pretty domesticated and used to humans. It was in Inle Lake where the dogs felt completely wild. There was definitely a canine takeover of the city after 11 PM and I was woken up several times each night by their fights. I felt like I was in a revival of West Side Story.
For being a short month, February has been a little wild. I’ve overused the word “wild” to describe everything in my life the past few weeks, including the weather. Up one day, down the next. Luckily, everything is on the up and up right now, including the temperature. I started to take regular yoga classes again, mostly in an attempt to tone up my arms before I’m in a bikini next month, but also to RELAX a little, though it’s hard in a studio where your mat is always touching the mat of four other people. I also started my French 2 class with Fluent City, which I will complete just in time to help me out with my April trip. Here’s what else went on in February:
I’ve wanted to go to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum since Katie and I took a tour of the Lower East Side with Jeff from Walks of New York this spring. On that tour, I learned a lot about the history of immigration to the LES and realized that I currently live in an old tenement building.